Mathews Named to Nagurski Trophy Watch List

    July 10, 2014

    HOUSTON - Houston senior linebacker Derrick Mathews has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced Thursday. The Houston native leads all players nationally with 348 career tackles and 39 career tackles for loss.

    Mathews is the fourth UH student-athlete this week to be named to a national award watch list, joining junior receiver Deontay Greenberry and sophomore quarterback John O’Korn who were named to the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday and senior center Bryce Redman who was placed on the Rimington Trophy watch list Tuesday.

    Mathews is one of four players from The American Athletic Conference on the Nagurski Trophy watch list.

    Named Dave Campbell’s 2014 Best Linebacker in the State of Texas, Mathews has started all 39 games of his UH career beginning in 2011 when was he was named a Freshman All-American by College Football News.

    Mathews eclipsed the century mark in tackles last year for the third consecutive season with 116 stops and led all linebackers in The American and the Houston program with seven sacks, part of 12 tackles for loss.

    He shared the team’s Wilson Whitley Defensive MVP honor with Trevon Stewart after forcing two fumbles, recovering two others and returning his lone interception of the year 29 yards for a Houston touchdown vs. BYU. Mathews had a career game against BYU as he added 12 tackles, four of which were for loss, and three sacks along with his interception for a touchdown.

    Mathews hit double digits in tackles in four games with a season high of 13 at Temple and broke up four passes on the year as well.

    He currently ranks ninth on the Houston career tackles chart while his 173 career assisted tackles rank seventh in UH history. His 39 career tackles for loss rank eighth in the Cougar record books while his six career forced fumbles come in at sixth on the career charts.

    Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. Once again, the FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, the honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.

    The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2014 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in America.

    The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 8 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by Florida East Coast Railway. Maryland's Randy White, a member of the FWAA's 1974 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

    The FWAA has named a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame. Pittsburgh tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season.

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